Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do


The Four Types of Web Credibility

The Four Types of Web Credibility

The four types of computer credibility described in Chapter 6 presumed, reputed, surface, and earned also apply to users experiences on the Web. Table 7.6 reviews each type of credibility and lists a Web-related example for each.

Table 7.6: The Four Types of Web Credibility

Presumed

Reputed

Surface

Earned

Type of credibility

Based on general assumptions in the user s mind

Based on third-party endorsements, reports, or referral

Based on simple inspection, first impressions

Based on first-hand experience that extends over time

Web example

A domain name that ends with .org

A site that won an award from PC Magazine

A site that looks professionally designed

A site that has consistently provided accurate information over the past year

Presumed Credibility on the Web

Presumed credibility describes the extent to which a person believes something because of general assumptions. These assumptions help people evaluate rightly or wrongly the credibility of Web sites.

Many elements from the Stanford Web Credibility Studies relate to presumed credibility. The four key elements that boost presumed credibility are shown in Table 7.7. (Our studies had no items that decreased presumed credibility to any practically significant extent.) First, the results show that sites are seen as more credible if they represent a nonprofit organization or have a URL that ends with .org, which many people associate with nonprofit organizations. [31 ]

Table 7.7: Key Elements That Increase Presumed Web Credibility

1999

2002

The site represents a nonprofit organization.

+1.2

+0.7